last night, two runners checked into the hotel, and i got to spend a fair amount of time chatting with them. they were so enthusiastic about my first *real* race, and that helped to get me fired up for this morning. they gave me some great advice (oatmeal with a little maple syrup in it for breakfast) and a very inspirational thought to keep me going.
i'm not seasoned enough yet to have any pre-race rituals, so there were no grand plans for friday night. i didn't quite get around to making kristi's national marathon baked ziti, but i had leftover mexican chicken with vermicelli, which totally fit the bill. after a relaxing shower, i had no problems falling asleep by 11. after a midnight trip to the bathroom, during which i stubbed my toe (!), i stayed asleep until just before my alarm went off at 6:15.
lots of water and my oatmeal with syrup (no coffee...sniff, sniff), about 14 trips to the bathroom, and i was on my way.
this was a point to point race, so i actually got to drive most of the course before i ran it. (keep in mind, i've driven this road a thousand times.) but this morning, with the mile marker signs out, it was a whole new ballgame. the last 3.2 miles of the race are down a looooong stretch of road, and i was really nervous that these would be very challenging miles for me. as i was driving, i passed this sign at about where 4 1/2 miles would be when i was running:
and... i started crying!
i really did not think i would be that emotional, and i hadn't even run yet!!
i parked and took the trolley back to the start. we started at the airport, and i only had about 10 minutes to stretch and hyperventilate before they lined us up for the start. my parents were there to see me off! the start was partially up on the bridge (i was thinking how awesome it was to get some of the bridge behind us before we actually started). hah. that really wouldn't matter, as i soon found out.
we were off! after a minute and a half, i was already walking!! between the bridge and the wind, and the fact that i started out waaaay too fast, i actually had a moment when i thought of scrapping the whole thing. i walked for a bit to get my breathing under control, then challenged myself to get back into my plan (walk 1/run 9). while i had started out in the middle of the pack, it was clear by the top of the bridge that i was going to fall solidly between the runners and the walkers. okay!! as long as i beat the walkers!!
i never even saw the one mile mark, and all of a sudden, i was at two miles. it couldn't be, because according to my stopwatch, i was running about 8 minutes faster than my normal pace (did i mention i started out waaaay too fast?!?) it seriously took me until about mile 2 1/2 to recover! at this point, the *serious* runners were well ahead of me, and i got very familiar with the runners just ahead of me. later on, if i squinted, i'd still be able to see them.
and then, right at mile three, the 83 year old man passed me. and i was seriously okay with that. really, by mile 3, i was already just proud of myself for sticking to my plan and staying ahead of my own pace.
and then, what i had feared, the long stretch of road was in front of me. the final 3.2 to the finish. i started to think i would never see the four mile mark. no, really. i was convinced someone had taken it down as a cruel joke. i was, at this point, running between the ocean and the marsh (i am so glad i remembered to enjoy the view!) the lighthouse was still ahead, and not seeming to get any closer. and the four mile mark was nowhere to be seen!
but, then, there it was! and then it was behind me. and then i passed my sign and in a blink, i was passing mile five. i definitely wasn't running as fast, but i was still sticking to my plan, and i could see the guardhouse ahead where i would cross over into Fort Caswell to finish the race. at this point, i had been running by myself for almost the entire race, so it was very easy to con myself into thinking this was just any old saturday run.
i passed mile six just outside the guardhouse, and there, two moms that i know had come back to run with me to the chute. i skipped my last walk, and just went for it. my parents were there, as well as my friend karen, and (so many) people who had done the 5K or had finished the 10 before me. and i was faced with something i hadn't considered yet in my five months of running:
how do you manage to breath at the finish line when you are crying?!?
i didn't want to hyperventilate in front of all of these wonderful people!! i made it to the table with the oranges and had a moment to catch my breath before heading back to where my parents were. poor matty and jack were just arriving. but, hey, they arrived when i told them i would probably be getting to the finish. i can't help that i finished over 5 minutes early!!
i don't have my official time yet, but it was 1:29:something. it might not seem like a great race to a lot of people, but i met or surpassed all of my goals:
i beat the "walkers"!
i beat 1:35:00!
when's the next one?!?